tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN February 2, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
its early stages by political bias. specifically the steele dossier paid for by democrats and the clinton campaign. it is xlamd the justice department and justice department omitted the province of it. there are serious questions raised by the memo. that they should make sure it doesn't violate any american civil liberties and not be used to make counter intelligence decisions. but speaker ross caution that had members of congress not use to it impugn the integrity of justice system and the fbi though that is precisely how president trump and his supporters are using this memo as mr. trump escalates his tikes u.s. law enforcement agencies. the justice department and fbi run by the president's own appointees say that the memo is
misleading. >> i think it is a disgrace, what's happening in our country. when you look at that, and you see that and so many other things, what is going on, a lot of people should be ashamed of themselves. >> democrats and some republicans fear that president trump will try to use the nunes memo as a pretext on fire those investigating, whether anyone affiliated with the trump team collaborated in any way with the russians. issuing this blunt warning. saying firing firing rod rosenstein or bob mueller could result in a constitutional crisis of the kind not seen since the saturday night massacre, speaking of nixon firing special prosecutor. the president has already fired fbi director james comey and forced out andrew mccabe and of
course president trump has threatened to fire bob mueller and rod rosenstein in a way he already had his saturday night massacre in a way over several months. and richardson resigned in honor before carrying out the firing of archibald cox. let's turn to much more on the allegations and the memo's attacks. jim sciutto is breaking down memo. we begin with jeff at the white house. you have some breaking news on president trump's relationship with rod rosenstein. >> that's right. president trump neither he nor the white house will say if he has confidence in his deputy attorney general rod rosenstein who of course is overseeing the mueller investigation. one official i spoke to a short time ago said this. he is unlikely to ever get beyond it. meaning the russia investigation
but there's to sense if the president had take the extra step and push rosenstein out. look at the view, the expression on the president's face when he was asked the question earlier today. >> are you going to fire rosenstein? >> you figure that one out. >> so those five words, you figure that one out, are hanging over this white house in terms of the future of rod rosenstein. as the president heads down to florida for the weekend, he will certainly be thinking about this at his mar-a-lago resort. one other republican who speaks often to the president told me this. he does more venting than firing. so simply an unknown question if the president had actually try to remove he rod rosenstein. even if he did, that would not make mueller go away. rachel brand also from the bush administration, the time here in washington works also likely replace him here. so the reality is it is more
complicated than removing one person. but he is in the cross hairs here and no one knows where he stands. >> jeff zeleny. the person you talked to said he does more venting than firingest does his fair share of firing, too. it has been quite a time. what is your bottom line takeaway from read go the nunes memo? >> our viewers should know that the central allegation of this nunes memo is that the warrant to monitor carter page, a trump adviser, during the presidential election, by association, the whole russia investigation, is based almost entirely or principally on this dossier composed by this former british intelligence agent, the dossier and others have attacked for some time to. support that, the nunes memo says the former deputy director of the fbi, andrew mccabe, told the house intelligence committee
that. he said we would not have sought this woornlt carter page without the dossier. the trouble is, one, i've spoken to, and my colleague together with me, we've spoken to three democrats on the house intelligence committee who were in the room for mccabe's testimony before the committee and they say that's just not true. he didn't testify to that. in fact he testified there were many pieces of intelligence. later in the nunes memo it grants that the russia investigation was started months before the warrant application for carter page based on entirely different intelligence from george papadopoulos, another trump campaign adviser who was told by someone tied to the russian government they had dirt on hillary clinton. so to some degree the memo undermines itself on that argument. >> that's right. it says the george papadopoulos investigation began in july. the fisa warrant was in october of 2016.
general hateden was the director of the cia and the nsa. he joins me now. what must other heads of intelligence agencies, fbi, nsa, cia, what must they be thinking right now? >> i can't imagine what it must be like for those folks. frankly, in some of my old jobs. let's take cia. an awful lot of cia information shows number fisa requests and now you have this whole drama playing out. so the interests of cia directly implicated. so are the interests of nsa. we've set a precedent. we've gone to a place we've never gone before. not just partisanship butheimer partisanship into the fisa. now you have dan coates. press rkts suggesting he tried to push back against the release of the memo and some redactions within the memo to make it less threatening to sources and methods. the memo went out and it went
out clean. although senator coates tried to push back, he wasn't successful. you have to think, this is a man who spent, with the executive branch, he spent his life in congress. so he has a perspective on the oversight function that i would not have. and i can't imagine what he is going through now seeing in my view, the destruction of this process of which he was a part. and there's one more thing. with thought going on, and your reporting and what we're seeing about the memo. he has to turn to his work force, as do all the three-letter agencies, that they're part of a good zming what they do makes difference. both of which were placed under threat by this. >> what was your response to the nunes memo? it came out. it is three and a half pages.
jim sciutto laid it out. the insinuation is that the fbi was biased against donald trump and they used democratic opposition research, hid that from the fisa court, and improperly got this warrant to spy on carter page. >> first of all, we've only got threats that the republicans on the committee want to lay out. reality is much richer. a fisa application runs 40, 50, 60 pages. it is very rich and you're very careful. the judge will pick it up and hit you in the head with it if it is not done well. if you don't prove your case. so i read the memo and i came away, i watched in the last hour, the same impression phil had. this is your best shot? this is it? this is what you got? what the memo shows is this was handle bid career professionals. that chris steele had been a reliable source of the fbi in the past. that the fisa application was
multithreaded. the energy for this came from the papadopoulos thing that came from the australians. and then the memo actually says, they got three additional renewals of the original fisa which means that the collection had to have been fruitful. and so yeah, you might want to cross a t differently here or dot an i differently. but fundamentally i think people were doing their job, moving in a direction that was warranted that an article iii court agreed with and produced results. >> so if it is not that big a deal. if your response is that's all there is and phil mudd, that was his response as well. what is your response about releasing it? just because it paints a misleading picture? >> so three problem sets. one is classification. which is frankly the most easily managed. so if you look at the memo, i'm trying to be fair. i don't know that i would have
insisted on a whole being changed in terms of the classification problem. what you have here is opening the door to something we've never done. hyper partisanship for a process that was near sacred ground in terms of career professionals talking only to judges so you don't have the political influence left to right. and then finally, i think the objection is, it's wrong. it is not good work. it leads tow a conclusion that everyone i know who has been involved in this process. it is just incorrect. >> i want to get your response to the president's tweet. the to that investigators have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of democrats and republicans, something that would have been unthinkable. rank and file are great people. that's a pretty serious charge. the president of the united states is saying that the to that leadership and investigators of the fbi and the justice department are corrupt.
that's what he's saying. >> so i don't think it is proved by the memo. and it seems to me that is said, this is a part that has the work force asking, am i still part of a good thing. that was done for the president's personal legal and political advantage. not out of his constitutional responsibilities. >> all right. always good to have you here. thank you. my political panel is here. does this memo raise serious questions? we'll answer that when we come back. stay with us. there's a vacation at the end of every week with hilton. whatever type of weekender you are, don't let another weekend pass you by. get the lowest price when you book at hilton.com
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constitutional crisis. i'm back with our panel. governor, let me start with you. is the president headed in that direction? do you think he will fire mueller or rosenstein? >> it certainly seems like it. here's the kicker. if he fires rosenstein, or if he fires mueller, and then he keeps going down this path, there is a lot of state attorneys general who are very eager to be helpful on this. so if mule is fired -- >> helpful to who? >> to finishing this process of making this investigation complete. so mueller's team could be hired by eric schneiderman, the attorney general of new york, or racine, the attorney general of washington d.c. this doesn't end. so i don't understand what trump thinks is his end game on. this it doesn't end if he fires mueller or rosenstein. >> that's interesting.
because of course, susan -- >> i'm saying this is not the way our system is supposed to work. you're not supposed to have the federal investigation of a president be dismantled and picked up by state attorney generals general. that would be a crisis of a whole new sort. and i think the question of whether the president goes ahead with what he seems to want to do. to fire rosenstein for the purposes of firing mueller. this will be the most significant firestorm that we've seen. >> and wray, who said that he -- >> the fbi direct or. >> right. he said he would resign if he were forced to fire mueller himself. what happens to him? does he step down? it is a cascade that is completely undermining the very legs of democracy. >> i think we're also making a big leap to think this administration takes one step, with already knowing what the end game is in mind. they were very clear on what
they wanted. the president clearly thinks this is a disgrace. i talked to some folks who were part of this committee and they feel it was important for the american people to see what they found out. the key we're pointing out. one thing they haven't pointed out more clearly is that the dossier, the key behind this fisa warrant, fund in the large part by the democrats. specifically hillary clinton. that's one thing they wanted people to know about. they truly believed this fisa warrant would not have been granted and issued if it had not been for the dossier which they believe was part of democratic opposition research. and they feel it was wrong to make the warrant based on that. and they want people to know. that being said, to attack fbi and the intelligence committee is inappropriate. and putting this out there when the fbi is saying there are grave concerns about it. that raises bigger concerns. the big question, what we really need to know. what will mueller do?
>> one of the things that's interesting, there is a factual debate going on. my dad used to say, argue opinions, don't argue facts. facts speak for themselves. did the deputy director say that the fisa warrant would not have been object takened without the steele dossier. some are saying yes, some are saying. no and another said there is a tape of it. i think the solution is, if the transparency is the cause, and i totally agree, let's release everything. let's release the democratic memo. the canctranscripts, the fisa. >> whatever your dad said about facts being facts, there are alternative facts with this administration and that seems to be, if you look at the four corners of the documents they
release. yes, they should release the democratic one so we have the if you will picture. the four corners of the document defy what republicans are saying. it says in the document itself that yes, preliminary corroboration of the steele dossier was happening. the george papadopoulos information was also part of it. so just in the four corners of the document itself, it goes against what they are saying. so you know, it is just mind-boggling what's happening. >> this is why these committees operate in a bipartisan way. >> i don't think the purpose of this document was to clarify. i think the purpose was to muddy. and i think it is to muddy at a particular time when we think the special counsel is moving toward conclusion. at least on the obstruction of justice investigation. we know they're investigating to get, to be able to question president trump. we assumed that would come toward end of it. and that i think may be one reason we're seeing it happen. and one reason it is confusing
is because, it seems to me, part of the point. >> if the purpose is to muddy, which this goes to you, what does this say about the aiders and abettors who released the documents, the republicans in the house? so many of whom had been so supportive, in the past, the fbi, et cetera. >> the key is to hear the democrat side. >> everyone, stick around. if president trump does fire deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, will that be another shoe to drop in the obstruction of justice probe? this is something that i'm really passionate about- i really want to help. i was on my way out of this life. there are patients out there that don't have a lot of time. finally, it was like the sun rose again and i was going to start
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>> i think this is an absolute disgrace. a dark day in american history. you have the president of the united states and the majority party in congress issuing a completely misleading document for the sole purpose of interfering with law enforcement people who are only doing their job by investigating this president. i think this is an absolutely shocking document and we haven't even seen the democratic response yet. >> house judiciary democrats situation the release of the nunes talking points, a deliberately misleading document that politicizes and distorts highly classified information in order to discredit our intelligence agencies, president trump has successfully added the republican majority in congress as accessories to his continuing obstruction of justice. i don't know if it is hyperbole or an accusation. >> i think it is hyperbole. i think this is a political
defense of the president who is under investigation in a law enforcement matter. i don't think the release of this memo is any sort of criminal act by the majority in the house intelligence committee. but it is designed to help the president who is under a very serious investigation. and this is, the whole purpose of all this is to discredit that investigation, and to then president politically. i don't think it is a crime but i think it is a dark moment in american history. >> the other night geraldo rivera said to hannity, if this were back then, that richard nixon would have survived impeachment. and it is tough not to agree. i think geraldo meant it as a compliment. i'm not sure it is one. the president has a huge apparatus. not just republicans in congress, nixon didn't have that
because democrats controlled it. but thls huge right wing media chamber that serves to change the question from the intelligence community why. and how did the russians interfere in the election? >> you have the echo chamber of breitbart and fox news and the republicans in congress. paul ryan is totally indispensable to the president here. and what is so different is how different the republican party is. from the 1970s. remember, what drove richard nixon out of office at long last was when barry goldwater and hugh scott and all the stalwarts of the republican party said we can't defend you anymore. we don't see even a breath of that in the current republicans in congress except those who are on their way out. in arizona, in tennessee.
you have senators who feel like they can't challenge the republican orthodoxy in their party anymore. and defend law enforcement. you have a completely unified and far more right wing republican party today than did you in the 1970s. >> so you mentioned speaker ryan. his feeling with there is based on public statements he's made. if there was a civil liberties abuse of carter page, that's important for us to know and that's important for the fbi to fix. if a political document was used, as evidence in a counter intelligence and law enforcement manner, i have concerns about that. but paul ryan has been quick to say, this memo does not undermine the fbi, the justice department, and the mueller investigation. that said,le members of his
party are using it that way. >> we you to introduce paul ryan to donald trump or just tell him to read the president's tweet this morning. you don't have to be an investigative reporter to find out what trump thinks of this memo and what he's trying to use it for. he thinks the fbi is led in a corrupt way. he thinks the fbi and the department of justice are engaged in a conspiracy to discredit him. there is absolutely no evidence of that. theon evidence is that we have people in the department of justice against significant political pressure, are doing their jobs. and the fact paul ryan thinks that, he is shocked to find politics going on here. i think it shows that he is not really paying attention or he doesn't want to. >> one of the things that's interesting, when you look back at how the fbi acted in the 2016
per se, just on that behavior, fbi director comey was very publicly talking, criticizing, not prosecuting, hillary clinton. reopened the investigation ten days before the election which hillary clinton blames for her loss and all the while, from july on, unbeknownst to the public, there was this investigation into the trump campaign including this carter page fisa warrant. october before the election that is the subject of this nunes memo. if the fbi really was against donald trump, one would think that investigation would have leaked out during the trump campaign against hillary clinton. >> you've put your finger on the most surreal part of this whole story. democrats based on the polling data have a very good argument that james comey, the head of
the fbi, cost hillary clinton the election. obviously many factors went into it. the fact he reopened the investigation on the eve of the election against justice department policy which says you don't make public announcements on the eve of elections, the idea that james comey was conspirator against donald trump is just completely belied by the evidence, particularly, again, when you point out that there was this ongoing investigation by the fbi that comey said nothing about publicly. >> in fact, the "new york times" wrote a story that before the election saying basically, the fbi sees nothing there. so if there had been an opportunity to leak something against donald trump, they could have done it then. thank you. so will we see the democratic memo written by adam schiff? [burke] at farmers, we've seen almost everything so we know how to cover almost anything. even a "red-hot mascot."
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the classified memo helps to provide greater transparency and he supports diplomats their own rebuttal. joining me, eric swalwell. is there anything inappropriate with a partisan political document being used in an application to surveil an associate of a presidential candidate? especially in that fact is not disclosed in the application? is that inherently wrong, do you think? >> that fact was disclosed to the fisa court that part of the evidence was from a politically motivated source. what has not been included in the republican memo is the multiplicity of evidence that went before the fisa court. that was separate from carter page. so that's what was so misleading about this. its misleading in its time line,
in how it characterize what's andy mccabe said, in how the application was put together and it is also misleading in so many omission that's would put it into focus can only be seen by the public if the democratic smoim released. >> let's talk about the andy mccabe thing, now the former deputy director, testified before the house intelligence committee. now the republicans say that he said, quote no, surveillance warrant would have been sought from the fisa court without the steele dossier information. they're paraphrasing. that's not a quote from him. republican members saying that's true and it is on tape. you're saying it is incorrect? >> if they were willing to be so reckless with classified information, why didn't they release the direct quote from his classified testimony? they didn't do it because he didn't say that. it mischaracterizes what he said. >> what did he say? >> well, jake, i'm not going -- two wrongs don't make a right. i'm not going to leak classified
information inappropriately but we're asking to release our memo because would it release what he said and what was in that fisa application. >> it seems like an important point when you support the release of any pertinent transcripts of mccabe's testimony that would settle the score? we have and you the democrats on the committee saying, you're basically accusing they will of lying. and it seems like there's a fact can settle this. >> the transcript and our memo would bring all this into focus. i would submit our smoim a detailed ten-page memo not only rebuts point by point the falsities they put forward but it also brings to light new unseen evidence that the door has been open to what they're alleging and the public would learn for the first time. is there anything in the fbi's behavior that you think merits scrutiny when it comes to the trump investigation, when it
comes to the fisa application for carter page or anything else? is there anything you see? the fbi, it is comprised of men and women trying to do the best for this country. they put their lives on the line. and it is also an organization composed of fallible human beings who sometimes make big mistakes. is there anything that they did that you know of that merits attention? >> they're not above the law or oversight but i have not seen anything to justify this. i think it is remark panel this did not leak. if they were so out to get donald trump, why didn't any of them leak out that people on his campaign were under investigation? i think they were working to try to do the right thing. one thing that wasn't brought up is the republicans have sent to the white house that are against
the president and his campaign. they can tailor their testimony to investigators or members of congress around that. i think this investigation is being jeopardized and they knew what they were doing by sending that over. >> you said this fight over the memo marked a call for leadership in the trump administration and it seeks to torch every floor of the fbi building and the republicans are willing to risk the republic to protect the president. does that mean, are you suggesting that fbi director wray and others in the justice department, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, should resign? what are you calling for? >> i'm torn on that one. it would be a loss to lose both of those honorable men. but at the same time it would be a loss if they did not at least continue to speak up as christopher wray has to show that, just how wrong this is. when i say risk the republic, i'm talking about the rule of law in a democracy you don't attack police when they're
investigating you. you don't use them to go after your political points. i hope more people at the d.o.j. and the fbi come forward to tell the american people how wrong this is. that it is incumbent possible leaders in congress in a bipartisan way, stand up and do the right thing. >> i want to ask you, christopher steele, the individual who wrote the dossier, he told bruce orr, a senior official, that he was desperate that donald trump not get elected and he was passionate about him not being president, unquote. do you have concerns that evidence compiled by steele was used given that? is it accurate to describe steele as having those feelings toward trump? >> i've seen most of the evidence as it relates to steele. i do not have that concern and i think a lot of this would be brought into focus our memo were released. let's see if paul ryan keeps his word and brings it forward when we come back on monday.
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work at the fbi. however you feel, this is not the attention they like. >> the fbi and the whole department of justice. there are 35,000 people who work at the fbi alone. 113,000 in the entirety of the department of justice and they all feel like they are being accused of lying, essentially. who do you believe? the president or do you believe these lifetime folks who have given their lifetime of service to the rule of law. rosenstein, he's a lifer. he went to harvard. he clearinged for the supreme court. he worked for president bush. he was the longest serving attorney of the united states. to say he's in the tank for the democrats. it is sickening. >> so republican senator john mccain blasted the attacks on
the fbi and justice department saying our nation's elected officials including the president must stop looking at this investigation through warped lens of politics and manufacturing partisan side shows if we continue to undermine our own rule of law. we are doing putin's job for him. >> i agree. this shouldn't be looked at through a partisan lens. the best way to investigate is through a special counsel completely independent of politics and get to the root of the matter. that being said, the fbi is an agency that should have oversight and we should look at things. that being said, we don't need to paint the whole fbi and the intelligence committee as people out to get the president. i think it is wrong and inappropriate food given the work that many of them do and do on a daily basis. >> the irony is the people
accused of being partisan are the very ones trump appointed. >> so in the best way, if the republican there's put out a memo on this investigation, we should their democrats. ideally we would have done it together. to have both sides throughout and if we're about transparency. >> i believe the bynum reports because at least you get something resembling the truth because you have to get everybody to agree. comey tweeted this afternoon on the nunes memo, that's it? dishonest and misleading memo destroyed trust with intelligence community, damaged relationship with fisa court and inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an american citizen. for what? d.o.j. and fbi must keep doing their jobs. we need to remind people james
comey is a republican. we are in uncharted territory. >> the thing that strikes me is the coalition that we see forming. we have the fbi and the justice department who are people trump appointed, saying this is a misleading memo and it should not be released. pass real house divided. the striking thing about mccain's comments, other republicans are not joining him. you have mccain not running for office again and lindsey graham who is a very distinctive figure. you have a republican party hanging together. >> they don't want to add any more fuel to this fire. this has taken over a lot of their offices. they would much rather talk about infrastructure and how to
attack opioid crisis but their phones are ring off the hook about release the memo or the russia investigation. they would just as soon put this behind them so they can do the work they came to washington to do. that's why we're seeing a lot of them withholding comment. >> if they want to get it behind them, why would you go about doing it? not you, of course. i feel like, in order to have a healthy democracy, you have to have people who believe in the rule of law and are rational. i think you should run for office. by having rational people who can see that up is up. where are the rest of the republicans in the house doing that? why are these people on the house investigative committee doing the president's bidding for him because they feel like they should serve the president rather than the country. >> is it not possible they truly
think there was an abuse of power by the fbi? >> congressman rick crawford from arkansas, speaking with his office. he served in the armiest has fought for this army, for american people. he truly believes it is important for the american people to have transparency in this. he is not out trashing the fbi. he is fighting for the opportunity for the american people to have full transparency in this investigation. that's why he is doing this. it is not about making the fbi and the intelligence community look bad. a lot of the people are doing it for transparency more than anything else. >> you and i have been here long enough to remember why they try on operate in a bipartisan way. and this is the exact opposite. they can't even agree on facts. >> and one reason there's been a history of them acting in a bipartisan way, even when the rest of the committee, agriculture and elsewhere would
break along party lines. they are in the country's interests. i think the loss of that, the senate intelligence committee has maintained some air of bipartisanship but on the house side, i think it is a loss with longstanding consequences. >> i'm just curious. i heard what you said about them honestbly believing that this was an abuse. i hear that. do you think if mccabe's testimony were revealed and he didn't say what they think he said, do you think they would say oh, we were wrong? >> i don't think so. but it is really damaging if you say something emphatically and you have evidence to contradict it. >> release the transcript! >> an editorial that will make you want to sprint up the art museum steps.
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